CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Cirencester, Gloucestershire

PUBLISHED: 11:37 16 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013

Photography by Anna Lythgoe

Photography by Anna Lythgoe

When Simon Smith, manager of Cirencester Farmers' Market, got a phone call from a potential new stallholder, he was delighted to find they wanted to sell a traditional favourite: Old Spot pork.

When Simon Smith, manager of Cirencester Farmers' Market, got a phone call from a potential new stallholder, he was delighted to find they wanted to sell a traditional favourite: Old Spot pork.


It was only when he arrived at the farm, just outside Cirencester, and found he had to wait to be cleared to get through the gate, that he realised it was Elizabeth Hurley's pad. "I had no idea," he laughs. "It was the product that really appealed."


Surely, this being Cirencester, there's a raft of famous faces to be spotted at the market?


"I don't know," he confesses. "I don't have a television. I might recognise their voices if they've been on the radio, though."


There are high profile producers - as well as shoppers - here, of course. Alongside Ms Hurley's farm produce you'll find organic vegetables from Duchy Home Farm; and that great ambassador for farmers, Lord Apsley, has been a huge supporter from the start.


But the one thing all stallholders have in common is a real love of producing 'proper' food and drink, whether it's Easy Bee honey, wine from Bow-in-the-Cloud Vineyard, or milk and cream from Holmleigh Dairy. "Over the years, we've weeded out all the grumpy producers!" Simon says. "Everyone loves what they do, and we all get on very well together."


Last month, the market celebrated its 10th anniversary, with Pam Ayres awarding prizes, and a cookery demonstration by Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen and Cotswold Chef Rob Rees. Rob, of course, is regularly there with his frying pan, choosing produce on the day from one of the 30-plus stalls: inspiration and delicious aromas at one fell swoop. Certainly, whatever he chooses to cook seems to fly into shopping bags afterwards.


The fact that local people love their food proved very much to their advantage when former Bibendum chef Bob Parkinson was looking for somewhere to open his restaurant and deli, Made By Bob. He chose the newly-redeveloped Corn Hall as the tastiest location.


"Cirencester has such a good catchment area, and it's a great place to be: a really beautiful town," he says. "And surprisingly, there wasn't anyone doing what I wanted to do."


Which is?


"Bring a bit of the City to the Cotswolds."


Locals were obviously hungry for the concept because there's hardly been a free table since it opened six months ago. Bob's now thinking about taking it further, with outside catering and mail order - but all in good time. "We need to find our feet first," he wisely says.


In a town that's been around since Roman times, there's really no hurry. Indeed, that's what Cirencester does best: invites people to slow down, to relax and to enjoy - especially when it comes to their food.




Don't miss Cirencester's Advent Festival on November 29 when there'll be a lights switch-on, children's parade, carol concert in the parish church, fair rides in the Market Place, entertainment, an Advent Market in the Corn Hall and Santa's grotto in New Brewery Arts. Watch out for full details at www.adventfestival.co.uk and on posters around the town.



Cirencester Farmers' Market is held from 9am-1pm on the second and fourth Saturdays; www.cirencesterfarmersmarket.com







0 comments

More from Out & about

Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search